Kara's Reviews > Angel Eyes

Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore
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Mar 19, 2012

really liked it
Read on March 19, 2012

Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore
Review by Kara Grant

Brielle's a ballerina who went to the city to chase her dreams and found tragedy instead. She's come home to shabby little Stratus, Oregon, to live with her grief and her guilt . . . and the incredible, numbing cold she can't seem to shake.
Jake's the new guy at school. The boy next door with burning hands and an unbelievable gift that targets him for corruption.
Something more than fate has brought them together. An evil bigger than both of them lurks in the shadows nearby, hiding in plain sight. Two angels stand guard, unsure what's going to happen. And a beauty brighter than either Brielle or Jake has ever seen is calling them to join the battle in a realm where all human choices start.
A realm that only angels and demons-and Brielle-can perceive (from Amazon.com).

My review
It takes one devastation to change the life you know. It only lasts a moment, but it can affect you for a lifetime. Have you ever experienced something that traumatized you later on? Have you ever encountered a moment where you know innocence has been lost and you’ll never be the same again? That’s what Brielle is going through when the story begins. Her best friend is gone and life will never be the same again. No matter what her friends, her father, and the community do to comfort her and welcome her home from Portland, she is still racked with guilt and grief.

This story did not immediately grab my interest because I didn’t connect with Brielle (short for Gabrielle). She has been traumatized and the first part of the book is about her coping with that grief. Symptoms of this grief are:
she’s very distant with everyone
guilt consumes her and makes her shake (especially her hands)
fear of seeing her best friend haunts her dreams/sleep deprivation
she won’t talk to anyone and she cries very easily
she panics easily
she thinks she has new phobias
she can’t stop feeling cold

It was difficult for me to endure that part of the story because of the heaviness it entails, but then I considered a time or two in my life when something broke my heart and I realized that what Brielle is feeling is normal. She’s afraid of everything, she no longer trusts her emotions or her instincts and she slowly goes back to her daily routine. She is a talented ballerina and does not believe in God, but she’s about to discover her role in spiritual warfare taking place in her small town of Stratus.

This book takes place from three point-of-views: Brielle, Canaan the Shield/Angel, and Damien the Demon/Fallen Angel
What’s it like to fly with an angel? What’s it like to witness spiritual warfare? What’s it like learning to trust someone when your instincts tell you he’s safe? What does a human see when wearing an angelic halo? This book has all of that and gives the perspective from all three types, human; angel; and demon. The setting of this story takes place in both the terrestrial realm (earthly) and the celestial realm (spirit).

What I learned from this story…
demons sense despair and it smells like salt and rust, tears and corrosion
they also sense fear and enjoy inflicting fear in humans/taunting their fears
when demons linger there are feelings of anxiety and dread
The Prince of Darkness forgives slowly, and he never, ever forgets (basically the complete opposite of God, which makes sense)
demons learn to please the Prince of Darkness by using and corrupting humans to fulfill their plans
an angel is also called a shield and there is a hierarchy of roles they fill, the angel (Canaan) in this story is assigned to protect humans

Even though I didn’t get into the story until the first 100 pages, the excitement does pick up and as Brielle learns her purpose with the warfare taking place I was very pleased with the change in her demeanor. I also greatly enjoyed her experience of the spiritual realm, the romance between her and Jake and I was relieved to discover that Jake is not an angel even though he was raised by one. Brielle has many questions about God that are touched upon and I was satisfied with Jake’s faith and patience with her. He doesn’t have all the answers, but he understands obedience to The Throne and he is patient with Brielle while her heart heals.

Here is an excerpt that I found to be an accurate description of fear and how it affects people:
It’s back: The darkness. The fear.
Canaan doesn’t hesitate. With a demon nearby, he can’t afford to. He transfers to the Celestial and turns his eyes to the room at the end of the hall.
Jake sits on his bed, facing the girl. She’s on the phone, her back stiff, the black tar of fear soaking through her shirt and pouring thickly onto the floor. A fog rises like steam from the muck and settles heavily around them. From under her blond hair, the clingy substance oozes, running the length of her body. Her hands shake, desperate to be rid of it.
She isn’t alone in her distress. It’s leaking from Jake as well—his pants saturated. Fear is pooled on the floor of his room, but is not content with only two victims. Like a heat-seeking missile, it runs into the hall looking for someone, anyone to attach itself to.
If human beings could only see the manifestation of such a weapon, they would understand how it paralyzes, literally holding them captive with the glue of it.
Like every being of light, Canaan hates fear. It has little effect on him, but humans can’t make such a claim. Only celestial eyes can see it for what it is. Black and thick. Like tar, but icy and alive. It clings and oozes. It weighs down its victims until they are either frozen in a trench of indecision or worse—they make the first possible move, no matter how unwise, simply to rid themselves of it.
It’s the deadliest weapon the Fallen possess. They can inflict it, to be sure, but the tragedy of fear is that since the Fall, humans have held it inside their very being and can unleash it, even unwittingly, on themselves and on others.

I was very satisfied with how Angel Eyes ended. I had trouble with Brielle’s unbelief after witnessing so much of the supernatural world, but she eventually comes to understand and fight for The Throne just as her shield does. It was a clean story overall. There’s violence in the story, but I found it appropriate to the plot (one villain is shot to death, angels and demons fight, Brielle trips over a tree root and breaks her ankle, children are kidnapped, demons inflict pain and fear on the humans and it is revealed that corruption exists in this small town), it wasn’t offensive. Brielle lives with her dad who is absent throughout much of the story, but the few times he’s available it is apparent how protective he is of Brielle. He calls the police twice when she doesn’t come home in a reasonable amount of time, he encourages Brielle to find her way in her comfort and timing, and he asks her friend Kaylee to keep her company when he has to be at work. Her mom dies when Brielle is young and that is another form of grief she has to deal with despite having no memory of this parent.

The spiritual warfare reminded me of Frank Peretti’s earlier books, This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness. Dittemore’s writing presents the supernatural action in a different way and brings a fresh perspective with Brielle, Damien and Canaan. Despite her new approach, the author manages to bring many biblical truths to life with her debut book and it’s interesting to watch Brielle’s character transform while finding her spiritual gifts. She evolves from being victimized—to learning the truth about the God she initially rejects—to becoming a vital part in the battle for His glory. I’m grateful for authors like Dittemore who don’t sugarcoat spiritual warfare yet enjoy telling a clean story for all readers to enjoy no matter what their beliefs are. “You shall know the truth. And the truth shall set you free.” To learn more about the author, please see her website/blog at: http://shannondittemore.com/ and her facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/#!/ShannonDit...
This book will be available in May from your preferred retailer.


I won this book from a contest on the author’s blog and I want to thank Shannon and Thomas Nelson for sending me a copy. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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